Businesses for separate authority to ensure accountability of gov’t officials

Published : 19 Jun 2022 08:44 PM

Businessmen at a webinar on sunday demanded of the government to form a separate authority to ensure accountability of the public servants to curb corruption and also to ensure proper utilization of public expenditure.

Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) President Rizwan Rahman raised such demand at a webinar held today on the proposed budget for fiscal year (2022-2023).

Noting that accountability if often neglected in public expenditure, Rizwan said even accountability is often absent among the businessmen. "To ensure accountability, a separate authority should be formed to curb corruption,"

Meanwhile, senior journalist and the head of online of the Daily Prothom Alo Shawkat Hossain Masum proposed for forming a public expenditure review commission. They came up with such suggestions at a webinar titled “Reflections on Budget 2022-23” jointly organized by The Asia Foundation (TAF), Research and Policy Integration for Development (RAPID) and Economic Reporters’ Forum (ERF) held via Zoom Platform.

Planning Minister M A Mannan spoke at the virtual event as the chief guest while Member Secretary, General Economics Division (GED) Dr. Md. Kawser Ahmed spoke as special guest.

President, Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry Rizwan Rahman and head of online, The Daily Prothom Alo Shawkat Hossain Masum attended the webinar as discussants.

Executive Director of RAPID Dr. Abu Eusuf presented the keynote paper.

ERF President Sharmeen Rinvy chaired the event and RAPID

Chairman Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque moderated the event.

The Planning Minister, however, did not give any positive notion about forming any separate authority to ensure accountability of public servants.

He, however, welcomed the support of the private sector in various operations of the government regarding statistics.

Expressing different opinion over the government's recent offer of tax amnesty to bring back the undisclosed money of the Bangladeshis abroad in the mainstream of the economy, Mannan said none has laundered money abroad for bringing those back. "I personally believe that the chance is very little for bringing back money through amnesty,"

He said that it is in one hand a disaster for the country and on the other hand a very good situation for countries like Switzerland and Bahamas. "In my life time I won't expect that money will come back from Swiss Bank. Rather, there may be some exchange of visits and holding of some meeting with some expenditure,"

The Planning Minister, however, opined that such facility has been offered considering the practical situation adding, "If money comes from abroad, then it's good, if not, there will be no loss,"

RAPID Chairman Dr MA Razzaque suggested for remaining cautious over the GDP growth projection adding that investment might be reduced since the trend of savings has declined due to inflation. He also opined that the government's target for huge bank borrowings from the domestic sources might put a negative impact on investment.

The renowned economist also wondered over the decline in budgetary allocations in OMS, food Programme and in other social safety net programmes compared to the outgoing fiscal year.

DCCI President Rizwan Rahman opined that the proposed budget for the next fiscal year (FY23) has been more business-friendly than people-friendly.

He also proposed for raising allocation in the social safety nets considering the severe flood situation in Sylhet and other parts of the country.